Roger Drake, founder of Franklin Equipment Co., dies

Published 12:02 pm Monday, July 2, 2012

FRANKLIN—Roger Drake, founder of the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a resident of Franklin, died Sunday.

He was 90.

Drake founded Franklin Equipment in 1962. Located across the Blackwater River in southern Isle of Wight County, the company manufactured diesel-logging tractors, primarily for the timber industry.

Franklin Equipment closed and filed for bankruptcy in January 2009, eliminating 60 jobs. The company blamed its demise on the economy and competition.

In addition to its headquarters in Franklin, the company owned a retail sales and service outlet in Louisburg, N.C., and a foundry that makes axle and transmission housings in Independence, Ore. The Louisburg outlet was the only company-owned dealership, but other outlets operated in 25 states and eight foreign countries.

A complete story will appear in Wednesday’s Tidewater News.